For a Bon Jovi amateur whose fandom is limited to Livin’ On A Prayer, my knowledge needn’t be more experienced! Paul O’Donnell takes us on an idea for a Bon Jovi musical, relying solely on imaginary/invisible performers and an unimaginative lighting programme.
We’ve Got Each Other is one man attempting to share with us the concept of a musical following the exact plot line of Romeo and Juliet, but without Shakespeare’s lilting language. Therefore, it resonates more with West Side Story but without the clever musical scoring. The storytelling is cliché with cheap gags and a disregard for the audience’s intelligence. Ironically, many musicals could take inspiration from O’Donnell’s ability to break the fourth wall and create a conversation with their spectators, though we will never know whether or not this was just the ‘bev’d up’ audience talking.
A surprisingly unfunny trick (pretending the show was meant to run for 150 minutes and being forced to cut to 60) does not land. I cannot imagine how tired my imagination would be after having to work on overdrive, muting the ramblings and stereotypical camp jokes from O’Donnell as well as actually picturing a comic spoof of a Bon Jovi/ West Side Story musical.
On the other hand, O’Donnell finds some games that do engage us. For example, letting us know that the following scene will require audience vocalisation of “ah” as we see fit, then creating a cringy mother-daughter scene with his narration. This was particularly effective for teasing the slightly more intoxicated members of the audience, who are ready to make fools of themselves
Unfortunately, O’Donnell’s vocal abilities are not impressive. His monotony drives a scene. I would appreciate his text perhaps as a comedy podcast, but on stage it flops harder than a children’s Am-Dram. Yet, Amateur Dramatics wouldn’t divulge in half-hearted, stereotypical Honduran accents or badly imitated “ballet” and fraudulent terminology. Rather, they would stick to the basics and get them right. Nonetheless, O’Donnell’s chair dancing seems to be something of a spectacle.
We’ve Got Each Other is a short and pleasant hour of light comic foolery, and likely to be a lot more enjoyable if you drink in preparation. O’Donnell struts his anti-climactic technique and leaves you feeling good about the quality of your own concepts for your next foray into musical theatre spoofs.
We’ve Got Each other played for one night at the Pleasance on October 6th 2018. For more information, see here.